Our new selection of the new releases by the bands Oathbreaker (Belgium), Ashbringer (USA), Mesarthim (Australia), Sadness (USA), Sanctuaire (Canada) and Deathspell Omega (France).
Oathbreaker — "Rheia"
The Belgians Oathbreaker have released one of the most important post-black albums of this year. Their third full-length record "Rheia" came out via the indie label Deathwish Inc., which was represented by the well-known band Deafheaven back in a day. This comparison is not accidental: the influence of "Sunbather" is noticeable to the naked eye. The atmospheric post-rock parts filled with acoustic and keyboard riffs alternate with intense and frantic screaming by Caro Tanghe, sometimes changed by clean and a little bit childish vocals. The singer combines a cherubic singing with a devilish screaming in its vocal folds, thanks to which the casual listener may think that there are two vocalists in the band. Despite Oathbreaker’s significant progress since "Eros|Anteros", this release is still can’t be called perfect: boldly mixing up the melody, "Rheia" has a little bit lack of dynamics in some parts; trying to dip the listener into a melancholic, almost hypnotic state, the melody loses its development and stick into the sound morass. No matter the odds, "Rheia" is highly recommended for the lovers of "post-everything" and the fans of the bands Deafheaven and Dead To A Dying World.
Ashbringer — "Yūgen"
Minnesota-based atmospheric black metallers Ashbringer presented their new album a year after their debut LP release. "Yūgen", as any second album of any band, is check on her strength. Unlike the work on the debut album, the next release needs more efforts and less time for the making, but Ashbringer fully proved their worth. The main theme of the musicians’ creativity is the nature, its grandeur, and gloom. On the new LP, the band was able to show the nature’s authentic atmosphere where the music organically interacts with the portrayed world: when the wind howls, it’s echoed by the great music which causes a shiver, also the fine percussion and gentle acoustics accent the album’s meditative parts. Such effects are achieved by accurate selection of instruments, the sound of which is diverse and rightly placed like paints on the artist's canvas: the pastel colors — acoustic arrangements and exotic oriental instruments, accompanied by the lingering howls or by the mellifluous solos. Dark shades are skillfully applied in thin layers without breaking, the beauty of the overall picture is emphasized thanks to contrast, where the screaming and distortion are the parts of the same magnificent view of the world, portrayed by the musicians. Do not be fooled by the simplicity of the songs, as the landscapist should not complicate the whole picture with the extra touches, so it was important for the musicians to achieve a balance between the melodic and intensity. 19-year-old band’s leader Nick Stanger demonstrates the very hasty growth of his compositional skills due to which we look forward to the group’s third release, which usually is the most successful in any band's discography.
Mesarthim — "Pillars"
Completing the journey through the nature’s essence, we’re picked by the anonymous Internet-project Mesarthim which carries us up to the stars. The Australians praise the things over our heads — the astral wasteland and bright constellation. Coming out from nowhere a year ago, this duo has been increasing its popularity and sharing it over the network as a cosmic body after the Big Bang with every new release, hiding under the curious punctuation names. Mesarthim’s unique sound mixes a futuristic aesthetic with its chromized snow-white surfaces and robotic synths, as well as atmospheric black metal elements: extreme vocals, looped structure, and clearly expressed keyboards. Since the last year's "Isolate" album release, the band presented three records: one LP and two EPs. Such active creativity work becomes even more enjoyable due to the fact that the band has been growing significantly, improving the sound from release to release. The unusual space black metal formula on "Pillars" reveals the melodic side: it contains more symphonic elements, the sound becomes softer, and its aggressive parts rather complement the overall picture. The main point is whether the band will be able to keep such high level of quality on the next releases, but its regression is currently out of the question.
Sadness — "Tundra"
Sadness is the atmospheric black metal from Illinois, the one and only member of which is the 19-year-old multi-instrumentalist under the name Elisa. Participating in the several one-man projects, the musician creates the melancholic compositions which do not stand out with a complex instrumental part, but focus on the monotone and atmospheric post-rock melodies. Structurally, "Tundra" consists of two instrumental tracks "Soâr" и "Autumn Wind" — mournful acoustic and keyboards sounds, which drives the listener to the catatonic trance state, and one more classic composition "The lightly falling in our storm", preparing for the final 25-minute epic "Ensound" which causes catharsis — it has agonizing shriek under sticky guitar metal sound, ambient parts, sounding like Twin Peaks soundtrack, sad and clean vocals, and tear-jerking final solo. The basement sound helps to create the atmosphere of abandonment and loneliness. The melancholy persons, who like to look sadly out of the window at the gray world with the sad background, will definitely enjoy this release.
Sanctuaire — "Le Sang sur l'Acier"
The Canadians Sanctuaire on their new record carry the listener in the era when the runes can speak, and the ancestors made these feats, which, as their wisdom, were forgotten with the course of inexorable time. From the first seconds, the listener's mind is filled with the non-stop melodies, rumbling bass and grooving chords. The permanent dynamics combines the elements of pagan metal and classic black metal of the second wave, bringing to mind such a niche subgenre as sognametal with its historically-war lyrics, catchy thrashy riffs and folk influences. The band perfectly recreates the remote ages: incessant growl, aggressive screams, and anthemic songs evoke inspirational mood like before an imaginary battle. This is a high-quality EP, the only downside of which is its short duration.
Deathspell Omega — "The Synarchy Of Molten Bones"
Deathspell Omega is the third group on our list, which members hide their identities. Staying in the shadow of anonymity, the French trio is known among their fans by the fact that with every new release, they manage to get ahead of themselves and exceed all expectations. That has happened at least since the days of 2004’s "Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice". With the new EP, the band continues the traditions set up with "Fas — Ite, Maledicti, In Ignem Aeternum", and the last EP "Drought", while maintaining a high instrumental technique and ultimate chaotic sound with a sensitivity and a harmonious structure of the tracks. This 30-minute work doesn’t waste any single second, any single note or riff — it seems like all record’s instruments are unstoppable, and all its motifs are replaced without giving breath. When the musicians treat the listener without condescension, it requires a reciprocal gesture — the maximum concentration and efforts. This black metal, which rules were changed and matched for themselves by Deathspell Omega. Their music still stays within the genre but becomes something completely new. "The Synarchy Of Molten Bones" is a big event for any metalhead and one more reason to call 2016 a great year for music.
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Reviewed by Alexander Tverdokhleb
Translated from Russian by Anastezia